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July 25, 2014

Will tonight be the end of Studio 60?

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 19th 2007 7:00PM

I almost didn't write this, because I'm really just inviting every person who hates me or hates Studio 60 (or the many people who seem to have a part-time job hating me and Studio 60) to just jump into the comments section and tell me why the show was bad and why I'm a terrible, terrible human being for even liking it. But then I decided, what the hell. In fact, let me help you with your comments. Cut and paste as you desire:

1. No one cares about what's going on behind the scenes of a late night comedy show
2. Sarah Paulson isn't funny.
3. The show isn't funny.
4. Sorkin is too preachy!
5. There's no chemistry between Paulson and Perry, and they focus on the Matt/Harriet plot too much.
6. Amanda Peet isn't believable/too young/too pretty to be a network exec.
7. You suck Sassone!

Tonight's episode, "Miracle at 4am," might just be the last episode of the show. Sure, NBC might show whatever episodes are still in the can at a later date, but even that's questionable. For now, the new drama The Black Donnellys takes over the time slot.

I gotta tell you, I still like this show. And I like it not because of some misguided Aaron Sorkin worship, I like it because of the awesome potential it has. Does the show have problems? You bet it does. It's not quite as sharp now as some of the early episodes were, they got away from the clever plots and dialogue about the TV industry and tried to turn it into a romantic comedy, and yes they do focus on the Matt/Harriet plot too much. Still, this is a Must-See show for me. I like Amanda Peet in her role. I do find Sarah Paulson believable. Perry and Whitford have great chemistry together (and what a revelation that even though they spent several years in their Friends and West Wing roles, you don't think of that when you watch them), and Steven Weber is fantastic.

But one of the reasons I'm also sorry to see it go is that there's nothing else like it on television right now. Love it, hate it, shrug it off, this is a grown up, classy, old-fashioned piece of entertainment, with a great cast and (I think) a great setting. It's the type of show you want to see get better and succeed. A show that wasn't a reality show, a CSI/Law and Order spinoff, or a show where people solve crimes with the help of the dead. And if you're the type of viewer who bizarrely "wants" to see this show fail instead of becoming better, well, there's no hope for you.

It's too bad that nowadays shows are not given more time to grow. The Dick Van Dyke Show, Seinfeld, and Cheers were almost canceled their first seasons too, but were given time to grow. I still don't know why NBC execs didn't at least try moving Studio 60 to a different day and time. With all the money they've spent on the show you'd think that people over at NBC would insist on trying it some other day. I know it's hard to find a time slot when you have Deal Or No Deal on 35 times a week. Eh, whatever.

This is an interesting case study though in how the public perceives TV now. Everyone has an opinion about what's wrong with a TV show, how it could be better, how it SUX, as you AOL-ers would say. A lot of you used to get on my case for my overly positive reviews of the show (back when I reviewed the show). I didn't praise the show because I had stock in NBC or was friends with a cast member or I had terrible taste. I believe in not getting on the case of someone who is trying to do something creative, whether it's TV, film, music, painting or anything else. Of course there were things wrong with the show. There are things wrong with every show. But it's ridiculous to dissect every single aspect of every single episode of a show. What's the point? You take it as a whole, realize that there will be good and bad episodes, and continue to watch it and hope the bad things get better and the good things stay the same. But today we can't do that. In this fast paced, media-saturated world where even the most casual TV fan knows what the ratings for Lost were 12 hours ago and where every local TV station tells us how the new movies did at the weekend box office before the weekend is even over, that's impossible. With rare exceptions, if a show isn't a big hit right away, then it's shelved, put on "hiatus," or even canceled, never to be seen again.

I guess we can start all of the "if only HBO (or FX or Showtime or whoever) would pick it up!" wishing we had with Arrested Development. But fans shouldn't hold their breath for that. Maybe the remaining episodes will be shown on NBC.com or Bravo, or maybe the season will be released on DVD, with unaired eps and extras.

Whatever happens to the remaining episodes, I have this strange feeling that if The Black Donnellys also fails, we'll see yet another new reality show on NBC. Maybe All You Need Is Love. And Jordan McDeere's nemesis Hallie will get the last laugh after all.

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lglendon

I love this show. I don't care what anyone else thinks!! Anything I can do to make it stay????

May 14 2007 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kay

How do you get to the network to tell them I LIKE IT.

March 03 2007 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terminal

Mondays are a tough night for me to watch TV, just because I tend to either do things on mondays or work until 10pm... although lately, when I have had the luxury of sitting in front of the tube, S60 has been the highlight of my evening... last couple of weeks I have either been working or busy, but I when I have been able to watch... well... no S60!!!

and after a quick google search... darn. it looks like it's going away. that totally sux.

I just have to remind myself that regardless of what the bean-counters in fancy suits up in the high floors of network HQ's do... a show's worth shouldn't always be measured by how short a run it has.

And in cases like this, I think back to that weekly News Magazine show that I watched religiosuly on CNN... "CNN NesStand: Fortune". This show has a 1 year shelf life, though it truly ruled wednesday nights at 10pm on my tube... after a little more than a year, they cancelled it in september... and then it won a major journalism award, in the category "best show"

March 02 2007 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisanne

Thank you for your article. I LOVE this show, and I'm truly hoping NBC don't cancel it, it's one of the few bright spots among the 'Deal or No Deal' sludge and I'm not sure how much more of that I can endure. Yes Sorkin's preachy, but only in the way I love to be preached to!The show has lost a little edge since it's first episodes, but there's still plenty of spark in it. It's must see tv for me...a bad episode of Studio 60 is till worth a hundred of all the dross in the schedules.

February 27 2007 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alexander

It is a shame that smart shows lose to reality TV. The future of TV will be Reality TV, where we watch people who look nothing like real people writing Blogs about other reality TV.

February 26 2007 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gail

I will gladly accept all your "cut and pastes"
if the show doesnt end!
I love this show!

February 25 2007 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nathan

I think I watched the pilot of S60 3 or 4 times. Here's what I got: A comedy show keeps pitching to the lowest common denominator and the producer gets the can. A new exec gets hired, hires two guys who were once fired from the show and have hit some hard times to give the show new life. I loved it.

From that, one might expect some struggles working with the cast, with their own issues, with figuring out what the show needs to become better.

Instead, all the cast gets along great, with the exception of Matt and Harriet. Their own issues have disappeared (i.e. Danny's past drug use, the film project they were working on), except for Matt and Harriet (which seems to be driving Matt to drug use). The show is evidently amazingly great, but we don't see it being made greatly, and we don't see the greatness. We see barely-amusing bits and hear about the greatness after the fact.

I think people light up the Matt/Harriet relationship because that's practically the only conflict in the show. Great dialogue, I really like the characters, but there's so little here to get involved in as a viewer. The show has a great premise, but the episodes seem like Sunday School--put the characters up on the felt board and then tell you what it means. I want to watch shows that reward you for paying attention. Studio 60 has the potential, but it's not delivering.

Could it be saved? Definitely. Will it be saved? Nothing to suggest it yet. NBC could put it on 5 nights a week; it won't get better until the writers find stories that viewers can care about and tell them.

February 20 2007 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sharonlee

I like this show from day one. I find it sad that you don't have time to even know the character before they cancel a show. Like the rest of our lives we look for the quick fix instant gratification if we can't get it in the first few show we move on. This show had fast paced adult comedy/romance I think some people just did not get and rather than have to stop and think about what they actually hear and see they should just stick to that Earl guy which is pretty much what you see is what you get and no thought required. Sad day in tv history

February 20 2007 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benjy

Bob,

I'm in complete agreement with you. I've never had a problem with the show and enjoy it thoroughly week after week. I've been fighting the solitary fight over at the S60 review for the last several weeks. Indeed, where were all these show supporters all along? Now, they decide to speak up.

Over on the S60 review every week, 95% of the feedback is about how much the show sucks. 98% of the feedback is about how much Sarah Paulson is the main reason the show sucks.

People seem to think that if a show is not doing well in the ratings that it must automatically be broken. They try to look for numerous things to fix. I believe that S60 doesn't need to be fixed. It's not broken. The dialogue (typical Sorkin) is fresh and sharp. The character dynamics are great. I even get the chemistry between Matt and Harriet.

If anything, it is a reflection of America's TV tastes. The campy shlock train wreck that is CSI:Miami (a show that used to be good but has morphed into a parody of Miami Vice and pales in comparison to its sister shows) consistently wins the time slot.

Regarding last night's episode to all you Paulson haters, her declaration to Luke about Matt, Matt's recognition that Harriet is his muse, and those last few minutes of the show between Harriet and Matt MADE THE EPISODE FOR ME! I'm telling you, I see their chemistry and Paulson is a fine actress.

The one good thing about this being possibly the last episode is that people can finally stop hating on this show and find something else to hate.

I'll miss this show. If there is one show that I wish would make the jump to premium cable when it dies on NBC, it's this one. But they didn't do it with Sports Night, so it's unlikely that they will do it here.

February 20 2007 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

I agree completely!

Studio 60 is not perfect but has been growing into it's great potential over the time it's been on. The writing in generally excellent (I even liked the snake/ferret/coyote subplot) and all of the leads are great, with the exception of Sarah Paulson whose character seems a little out of place. I never cared for any of the Friends but Perry is terrific on this show and they have the best secondary cast of any program in a long time.

It's too bad that NBC won't give the show a chance to grow. I suppose we have more Howie to look forward to.

February 20 2007 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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